Nicola Johnson


Qualifications: B Media, LLB




  • Nicola focuses on delivering value-for-money, volume litigation services, delivering practical solutions. She successfuly managed a large caseload of unmeritorious judicial review applications challenging decisions to refuse the grant of Child visas by having them summarily dismissed at an interlocutory hearing.
  • Nicola has had carriage of thousands of judicial review proceedings for the Minister for Immigration conducted in the Federal Circuit Court, the Federal Court and the High Court of Australia, including most notably:
  • Applicant S270/2019 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2020] HCA 32 where the High Court held an absence of obligation for the Minister to take account of any non-refoulement obligations when deciding whether to revoke cancellation of any visa that is not a protection visa where the materials do not include, or the circumstances do not suggest, a non-refoulement claim.
  • Obtaining a favourable Full Court judgment of significant value in defending genuine temporary entrant matters in Kumar v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2020] FCAFC 16.
  • Persuading the Full Federal Court that Brown v Minister for Home Affairs (No.2) [2018] FCA 817 was wrongly decided and s 29 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act (Cth) did not apply to proceedings in the Migration and Refugee Division of the Tribunal such that it had the power to extend the prescribed time limits for seeking review under Parts 5 and 7 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).
  • Successfully opposing leave for Constitutional arguments to be raised on appeal before the Full Federal Court in Raibevu v Minister for Home Affairs [2020] FCAFC 35.
  • Nicola routinely appears as a solicitor advocate in the Federal Court, defending challenges to visa and immigration decisions such as applications for urgent injunction, refused applications for extension of time to seek judicial review of a personal decision of the Assistant Minister, allegations of bias and other outcomes upholding Ministerial and Departmental interpretation of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).
  • provided legal advisory services to the Department of Immigration for the Qualitative Review of Statement of Prosecution Claims lodged by Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) service providers.

Coronial Inquests

Represented the Minister and then Department of Immigration in four high-profile coronial inquests into deaths in immigration detention, before the NSW State Coroner.

Royal Commissions and inquiries

Represented and advised a former senior public servant before the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program. Appeared before the Royal Commission. Preparatory document review included consideration of cabinet-in-confidence and public interest immunity.

Key member of the legal team representing the Commonwealth Government before the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the UN Oil-for-Food programme (the Cole Inquiry).

Acted for the Professional Services Review (PSR) advising the Agency and Peer Review Committees on Part VAA of the Health Insurance Act 1973 and their obligations to afford procedural fairness.

Advised the then Department of Immigration on compensation and liability claims, including compensation under the Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA) scheme.

Conducted volume debt enforcement litigation on behalf of the Child Support Registrar spanning initiation of proceedings to enforcement of orders following default.

Represented and advised the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner in proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and the AAT challening decisions made under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth).

Professional Membership

  • Women Lawyers Association of NSW